22 November 2021 298 Views

The Ghostbusters /Dr Who Connection

by James Murphy

No.  Not a genuinely reflective essay on their shared sci-fi credentials.

    Just an observation. Specifically on the current output from both brands. 

Said before, will say again: I do not review products I have not SEEN. That would be spectacularly unfair to the target and unprofessional, even for a blog.

But I can, however, articulate, why perhaps, I have at best delayed and maybe will avoid altogether, viewings (and hence RE-Viewings) of certain shows and films.

Which brings me to GHOSTBUSTERS:AFTERLIFE and DOCTOR WHO (this week).

In the case of the former? I just do not ‘get’ how people can have pangs of gooey nostalgia for the product. The first movie, though funny and visually innovative /genre splicing, is not really a sentimental affair. It’s in fact rather nasty in places, with the horror ultimately outdoing the comedy.

It was the cartoon that made the property into a kind of family compatible franchise. To some, that made everything worse. To a legion of kids however, that was the way in.

And GHOSTBUSTERS 2, for all its flaws (needlessly restarting each character’s arc from riches to rags and back again; statue of liberty as answer to marshmallow man set piece etc) is genuinely funny and warm hearted.

There was an attempted reboot: GHOSTBUSTERS 2016. I like it, despite the awkward unfunny filler in said. It was in retrospect a somewhat cynical reboot attempt by the studio: take the old formula and just go all girl!

But the film itself and the personnel tried to inject some soul to the affair. Hence, my reluctance to watch GHOSTBUSTERS:AFTERLIFE. I did read all the spoilers because after my James Bond shock last month I am never trusting endings again, ever.

Thing is? AFTERLIFE seems to repeat, beat for beat, the ending of the first GHOSTBUSTERS. Just without as much Bill Murray wit, innovation, novelty, experimentation or surprise, though I do like the descriptions of the mid credits /post credit bits.

And as to the notion that THIS is the film with more heart and life than the previous sequel/reboot attempts? Please.

You took the all girl template that did not work and simply made it ‘kids’, right? The particularly mawkish, manipulative ending / Harold Ramis ‘tribute’ is deeply unsettling to my mind.

Though to be fair, this aint no review. I might view and indeed re-view. Maybe. I mean, the film in question is endorsed by Bill Murray and the other cast members of old, right? Same way they so loved the 2016 film. Just as James Cameron endorsed two TERMINATOR sequels he later stood back from. That..

Which brings me to DOCTOR WHO. We know that it, like GHOSTBUSTERS, will soon get a reboot of a reboot and wisely, will ditch the things that did not work, for stuff that did before and will again. Fine. But that does not change the fact that, meantime, the show is still ‘on’ and churning out utter crap.

Now, like I say, granted, I did not watch this week’s travesty (I mean, episode). To its credit, everything looked well staged and atmospheric etc. Fine. Great. And anything is enhanced by weeping angels (Moffat’s finest creation) and Kevin McNally (a great actor).

As fate would have it, I did attempt to watch this show. But the internet went down for two secs. Rather than revisit / reboot the connection? I just thought ‘nah’. I had seen it all before. LITERALLY. There was an IDENTICAL looking episode back in 2013, with Dougray Scott as a guest star. Cannie be arsed looking that up now. But seriously. Cut/paste.

Yes, Doctor Who has always repeated certain tropes. Base under siege. Murder mystery in space. Gods and monsters. Period drama meets sci fi etc. But the key is HOW you do it. What original spin, look, feel is there to bring? Russell T Davies ‘got’ that. That is why his return to the show will make it worth watching again.

Chris Chibnall’s show running has been a disaster, by contrast, because he never ‘got’ how to to do that. Familiarity ok. Direct rip off /clone with new identity politics stitched on: not ok. Granted, it was Steven Moffat (belated happy birthday, btw) who started that decline. But Chibnall does not even have Moffat’s visual imagination.

I missed nothing by missing this week’s DOCTOR WHO. Life is actually fuller without having wasted my time. Sorry! No, not sorry at all.

Anyway..suspect you see the point. Two products. I did not view or review either. Because frankly, they do not warrant it. Have a nice week. x



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